How to Use a Moen Faucet Cartridge Puller

Moen faucet cartridge puller

Aaron Stickley

The most common repair for a cartridge-style shower, bathtub, or sink faucet is to remove and replace the cartridge insert—a project that almost always fixes a leaky, dripping faucet. It's usually a relatively easy job, but occasionally it can be frustratingly difficult if you find that the cartridge is stuck in place.  With Moen-brand faucets, though, you can simplify the task by using a simple cartridge-puller tool, specially designed to remove cartridges from Moen valves. The tool is also very useful for repairing a Moen shower valve as well as valves on other types of faucets. 

The cartridge puller model shown here can be used for series 1200, 1222, and 1225 Moen cartridges. Another variation, the ​T-Handle Moen Cartridge Puller, can be used for the 1200 or 1225 cartridges. Make sure to choose a puller that is designed for your faucet model.

What Is a Cartridge Puller?

A cartridge puller is a simple plumbing accessory that has one purpose only: to extract shower or sink faucet valve cartridges that are stuck in place. The most common cartridge pullers are for Moen brand faucets, which are known to be tricky to disassemble. These cartridge pullers are available from both Moen as well as after-market companies. Products from after-market manufacturers generally work quite well and are often a little less expensive than OEM (original equipment manufacturer) versions. Sometimes, replacement cartridges are packaged together in a kit that includes a cartridge puller.

How to Use a Moen Cartridge Faucet Puller

  1. Expose the Faucet Cartridge

    Shut off the water to the faucet, using the nearest available shutoff valve. If your faucet has no fixture shutoff valves (often the case with showers), turn off the water at the home's main shutoff valve.

    Remove the faucet handle and trim plate to expose the valve. This is usually a simple matter of popping off the handle cap and unscrewing the mounting screw beneath the cap to free the handle. The escutcheon trim plate may be mounted with screws, as well. You may need to cut away the bead of caulk to remove the trim plate.

    Use a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the clip that holds the cartridge in place.

    Tip

    Keep a good hold on the clip so it does not fall into the wall cavity. You will reuse the clip if you are replacing the cartridge.

    A cartridge clip being removed
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  2. Attach the Cartridge Puller

    Prepare the puller tool by backing out the screw and body nut as far as they will go. Fit the cartridge puller onto the end of the cartridge so the two tabs on the puller straddle the raised center of the cartridge and the tool fits snugly.

    A Moen cartridge puller
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  3. Secure the Cartridge Puller

    Use a screwdriver to tighten the puller screw all the way in. The puller screw threads into the same screw hole that accepts the faucet handle screw. If the puller screw won't drive in all the way, back it out, realign the puller, and drive in the screw again. Don't force the screw, as this can damage the tool's threads.

    Tightened Moen cartridge puller
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley
  4. Extract the Cartridge

    Grip the handle of the puller, and twist the puller back and forth as you pull straight out. Continue the back and forth motion until the cartridge pulls out of the valve body. The valve is now ready for a replacement cartridge.

    Note: The valve shown here (a 1222 Posi-Temp shower valve) does not require the use of the large body nut on the cartridge puller. When removing a 1200 or 1225 cartridge, you will need to use the body nut.

    Removing a Moen cartridge with puller
    The Spruce / Aaron Stickley

How to Maintain a Moen Faucet Cartridge Puller

Simply clean off and dry the cartridge puller after each use. Rubbing it down with a cloth moistened with light penetrating oil will prevent corrosion. This accessory should last for decades, showing its usefulness for as long as you have Moen cartridge faucets in your home.

Tip

If you find yourself without a cartridge puller, you can sometimes extract the cartridge by gripping the stem with a pair of channel-type pliers or needle-nose pliers and pulling straight outward.